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MDU at 100 — back to the 'core'

Bismarck-based MDU is now 100 years old.

And the company is going back to its core.

When it began, MDU — or Montana-Dakota Utilities Company — it was an electric power company. It later expanded into coal mining and construction, as well as pipelines.

The mining was sold off. MDU has spun off its Knife River construction materials company into a separate firm. And its construction services group, now called “Everus,” is also becoming a separate company. That means MDU will concentrate on electricity, natural gas delivery and pipelines.

"We're really transforming our company once again," MDU CEO Nicole Kivisto said in an interview. "Any company that has survived 100 years has to do that. And if you are going to make it to 100, you have to adapt and change with the time."

Kivisto said MDU is very focused on safe, reliable and affordable energy for their customers.

"It's top of mind, all the time," Kivisto said. "All while knowing we have an aging infrastructure, and we do have to replace it. That comes with a cost."

Kivisto said that cost has to be balanced with customer rates. She said that is a challenge.

MDU still gets a third of its power from coal-fired generation. The company is a co-owner of those plants.

"We will continue to work with our partners," Kivisto said. "But the one thing we will stay focused on is that reliability. You have to have baseload resources, and be able to on a must-run basis in those facilities, so you can provide that reliable service."

MDU is the oldest publicly traded company in North Dakota, having been on the New York Stock Exchange since 1948.

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